Request definition basics

As mentioned in the quickstart, the following import will be needed:

import sttp.client4._

This brings into scope basicRequest, the starting request. This request can be customised, each time yielding a new, immutable request definition (unless a mutable body is set on the request, such as a byte array). As the request definition is immutable, it can be freely stored in values, shared across threads, and customized multiple times in various ways.

For example, we can set a cookie, String -body and specify that this should be a POST request to a given URI:

val request = basicRequest
  .cookie("login", "me")
  .body("This is a test")

The request parameters (headers, cookies, body etc.) can be specified in any order. It doesn’t matter if the request method, the body, the headers or connection options are specified in this sequence or another. This way you can build arbitrary request templates, capturing all that’s common among your requests, and customizing as needed. Remember that each time a modifier is applied to a request, you get a new immutable object.

There’s a lot of ways in which you can customize a request, which are covered in this guide. Another option is to just explore the API: most of the methods are self-explanatory and carry scaladocs if needed.

Using the modifiers, each time we get a new request definition, but it’s just a description: a data object; nothing is sent over the network until the send(backend) method is invoked.

Query parameters and URIs

Query parameters are specified as part of the URI, to which the request should be sent. The URI can only be set together with the request method (using .get(Uri), .post(Uri), etc.).

The URI can be created programmatically (by calling methods on the Uri class), or using the uri interpolator, which also allows embedding (and later escaping) values from the environment. See the documentation on creating URIs for more details.

Sending a request

A request definition can be created without knowing how it will be sent. But to send a request, a backend is needed. A default, synchronous backend based on Java’s HttpURLConnection is provided in the core jar.

To invoke the send(backend) method on a request description, you’ll need an instance of SttpBackend:

val backend = DefaultSyncBackend()
val response: Response[Either[String, String]] = request.send(backend)

The default backend uses the Identity effect to return responses, which is equivalent to a synchronous call (no effect at all). Other asynchronous backends use other effect types. See the section on backends for more details.


Only requests with the request method and uri can be sent. If trying to send a request without these components specified, a compile-time error will be reported. On how this is implemented, see the documentation on the type of request definitions.

Initial requests

sttp provides two initial requests:

  • basicRequest, which is an empty request with the Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate header added. That’s the one that is most commonly used.

  • emptyRequest, a completely empty request, with no headers at all.

Both of these requests will by default read the response body into a UTF-8 String. How the response body is handled is also part of the request definition. See the section on response body specifications for more details on how to customize that.

Debugging requests

sttp comes with builtin request to curl converter. To convert request to curl invocation use .toCurl method.

For example:

// res1: String = """curl \
//   --request GET \
//   --url '' \
//   --header 'Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate' \
//   --location \
//   --max-redirs 32"""

Note that the Accept-Encoding header, which is added by default to all requests (Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate), can make curl warn that binary output can mess up your terminal, when running generated command from the command line. It can be omitted by setting omitAcceptEncoding = true when calling .toCurl method.